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The participation of women in Saudi Arabia's economy: Obstacles and prospects

Al-Dehailan, Salman Saleh (2007) The participation of women in Saudi Arabia's economy: Obstacles and prospects. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Low female labour force participation has been one of the main characteristics of the Saudi labour market over the last fifty years. This study is an attempt to analyse the factors affecting women's (non)employment through the perception and understanding of employed and unemployed Saudi women and Saudi policymakers. By using primary data assembled through questionnaire and interview methods, it identifies the major factors the employment and non-employment of women in Saudi Arabia. Since in order to promote women’s participation in all sectors of the economy, accurate information regarding various types of historical, financial, social, familial, cultural, religious and demographic factors explaining the prevailing lack of women's participation in the formal production of the economy is needed and this study aims to provide such a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved. The questionnaire method was conducted to collect data from employed and unemployed women samples to investigate their perceptions related to factors affecting their (un)employment and also challenges related to diversification and expansion of women participation in economic activity. In addition, semi-structure interviews were conducted to collect data regarding the perception of policy makers. The questionnaire survey and interviews were conducted in three cities of Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Dammam, and Al Hasa) during the period of February 2004-June 2004. Assembled data were qualitatively and quantitatively analysed to provide further meaning through statistical, textual and interpretative methods. The analysis of the data indicates that demographic, financial, socio-economic, attitudinal and cultural factors as well as government policies influence women’s employment status in Saudi Arabia. The qualitative and quantitative factor analysis based on women's perception indicates that the following factors has important impact on women's participation in the labour market: distance difficulties, transportation, extended holidays, negative view towards working women, mixed working environment, labour legislations, child care facilities, par-time work and flexible working hours and promotion programs to change society attitude. Important recommendations include the need for a change in the attitudes of people towards women’s employment as well as providing the facilitators which help women cope with employment.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:49

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